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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift

Good Question ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 192 countries around the world daily.

The Original Teen Heartthrob - All Women's Heartthrob for that mater! ...

Today is  Valentino Day  
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Today in History

Today in History
1244 Turks expel the crusaders under Frederick II from Jerusalem.
1305 Scottish patriot William Wallace is hanged, drawn, beheaded, and quartered in London.
1541 Jacques Cartier lands near Quebec on his third voyage to North America.
1711 A British attempt to invade Canada by sea fails.
1775 King George III of England refuses the American colonies' offer of peace and declares them in open rebellion.
1821 After 11 years of war, Spain grants Mexican independence as a constitutional monarchy.
1863 Union batteries cease their first bombardment of Fort Sumter, leaving it a mass of rubble but still unconquered by the Northern besiegers.
1900 Booker T. Washington forms the National Negro Business League in Boston, Massachusetts.
1902 Fanny Farmer, among the first to emphasize the relationship of diet to health, opens her School of Cookery in Boston.
1914 The Emperor of Japan declares war on Germany.
1926 American film star Rudolph Valentino dies, causing world-wide hysteria and a number of suicides.
1927 Immigrant laborers Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are executed for a robbery they did not commit. Fifty years later, in 1977, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis establishes a memorial in the victims' honor.
1939 Joseph Stalin and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop sign a non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Germany, freeing Hitler to invade Poland and Stalin to invade Finland.
1942 German forces begin an assault on the major Soviet industrial city of Stalingrad.
1944 German SS engineers begin placing explosive charges around the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
1950 Up to 77,000 members of the U.S. Army Organized Reserve Corps are called involuntarily to active duty to fight the Korean War.
1952 Arab League security pact linking seven Arab States in a military, political and economic alliance goes into effect.
1954 First flight of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
1958 The Second Taiwan Strait crisis begins: People's Liberation Army bombards island of Quemoy during Chinese Civil War.
1961 Belgium sends troops to Rwanda-Urundi during bloody Tutsi-Hutu conflict.
1966 Lunar Orbiter 1 takes first photograph of Earth from the moon.
1975 Pathet Lao communists occupy Vientiane, Laos.
1977 Bryan Allen, piloting the Gossamer Condor, wins the Kremer prize for the first human-powered aircraft to fly a one-mile, figure-eight course.
1979 Iranian army opens offensive against Kurds.
1979 Bolshoi Ballet dancer Alexander Godunov defects in New York City.
1990 Armenia declares independence from USSR.
1990 East and West Germany announce they will unite on Oct 3.
1996 Osama bin Laden issues message entitled "A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places."
2006 Natascha Kampusch,  was abducted at the age of 10 in Austria, escapes from her captor, Wolfgang Priklopil, after 8 years of captivity.
2011 Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi is overthrown after National Transitional Council forces take control of Bab al-Azizia compound during the 2011 Libyan Civil War.
2011 A 5.8 earthquake centered at Mineral, Virginia, damages the Washington Monument, forcing the landmark to close for repairs.

Non Sequitur

Daily Comic Relief
The 'Some never learn' Edition

Did you know ...

Did You Know ...
About the U.S. Special Ops project to exploit your twitter account

That capitalism = feudalism

About these confessions of a climate denier

That a study shows large acidic change in the world's ocean

Random Celebrity Photos

Pictures Say A Thousand Words

Linda Evangelista
Linda Evangelista

Walmart’s Low Wages Are Causing the Company’s Profits to Collapse

Corporations Behaving Badly - Comeuppance
It almost makes you wish you weren’t a repugican supporting killing jobs bills and the minimum wage, but oh well, it’s a little late for that now.
It turns out that when you starve the people with low wages and put all of your record breaking profits back into your own pocket or the pockets of your investors instead of doling out a teeny tiny bit for human capital (employees), and you drive the wages down so low that your employees are subsidized on the federal dime, eventually those people can’t afford your products.
Eventually that lower to middle class that you snuffed out with greed does indeed disappear and then—
POOF – there’s no one to buy your crap.
Walmart’s quarterly numbers reveal that the previous signs of trouble that so freaked out company executives have not resolved. Walmart U.S. comp sales declined 0.3 percent in the 13-week period from Apr. 27 and the company lowered its earnings-per-share forecast.
And yet, The company returned $3.4 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.
“Across our International markets, growth in consumer spending is under pressure,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart International president and CEO. “Consumers in both mature and emerging markets curbed their spending during the second quarter, and this led to softer than expected sales. While this creates a challenging sales environment, we are the best equipped retailer to address the needs of our customers and help them save money.
“We expect the third and fourth quarters to be better than our results in the first half, and we are working hard to deliver operating expense leverage for Walmart International,” added McMillon. Yes, Walmart hasn’t learned and they are looking for more ways to cut costs, which in Walmart-ese will most likely translate into taking more from the labor pile.
In their press release, Walmart blamed the “increased” payroll tax (again, it was not an increase) and inflation, but the truth of the matter is that these are the conditions of the market, and whining about them instead of addressing the real problem isn’t helping. If the average worker had a decent paycheck, they would have more money. This is just math.
They know this, because in February of this year a company executive asked in an email dripping with flop sweat, “Where are all the customers? And where’s their money?”
In February of this year even WalMart knew there was trouble because same store sales grew only 1 percent in the fourth quarter where analysts were expecting the same 1.5 percent they had seen in a year earlier.
Wal-Mart attributed this to a fall off in sales after Black Friday because, it said of an unusually long interval between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Another slowdown in sales hit in late January and continued into this month.
The company’s explanation for the recent flat sales was the January 1 payroll tax “increase” and higher gas prices. The former, of course wasn’t an increase at all but Wal-Mart, without a hint of irony, complained that the expiration of the tax holiday took $15 a week out of the pockets of families earning $30,000 a year.
Where are the customers? Well, According to Bloomberg they fled Wal-Mart’s poor customer service for places like Costco. You know Costco, where they pay their workers a fair wage and back legislation to increase the minimum wage.
Harold Meyerson pointed out at WaPo that these bad tidings weren’t contained just to WalMart but other retailers like Kohls and Macys were suffering as well. Why? Well, gee, “The United States leads the industrial world in the percentage of its jobs that are low-wage.”
This isn’t rocket science. In December of 2012, CNN money reported that corporate profits were stronger than ever. “But the record profits come at the same time that workers’ wages have fallen to their lowest-ever share of GDP.” Things weren’t always like this. “Until 1975, wages almost always accounted for at least half of GDP, and had been as high as 49% as recently as early 2001.” Oh, the last vestiges of the Clinton economy. (Insert longing sigh here.)
“But the downward pressure on wages is hurting consumers’ ability to spend, and thus the need for businesses to hire more people.”
“[Businesses] have a capacity to employ more people, but it makes no sense to hire more people until you have demand for your stuff,” Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank, told CNN Money.
Corporate profits have finally pushed labor off the cliff. The disparity has been growing since the great depression, and it’s reached the point now where working Americans can’t make it fly anymore. We have no Bush bubbles (tech, housing) to cushion us from this reality anymore. Until corporate America starts putting some of their profits back into labor, labor isn’t going to have the money to buy corporate America’s stuff.
Just like corporate America threatens workers with moving offshore for cheap labor, the American worker can now tell American corporations sorry, but a) I don’t have the money and b) I can get it cheaper in China off the Internet, or c) I can buy it at Costco.
I guess workers are good for something after all in the paradigm of the sociopathic corporation. They always promised us the goodies would trickle down. Of course, they never did. Instead, the starving of the middle class is finally trickling up. It couldn’t happen to more deserving people.

The IRS faces lawsuit for failing to enforce cult electioneering ban

The State of the Nation
From Raw Story
(Click on the link to read more)

The Internal Revenue Service was unable to suppress a lawsuit over its failure to audit thousands of churches that allegedly violated federal tax law by engaging in partisan advocacy.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman of the Western District of Wisconsin on Monday denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation against the IRS.

"If it is true that the IRS has a policy of not enforcing the prohibition on campaigning against religious organizations, then the IRS is conferring a benefit on religious organizations (the ability to participate in political campaigns) that it denies to all other 501(c)(3) organizations, including the Foundation," Adelman wrote.

Why A Chemical Threat in Syria Is Terrifying

Nations Behaving Badly
Amid new reports of chemical weapons being used in Syria, we look at the most feared types.

One-legged man accused of benefit fraud after officials examined wrong leg

Officialdom Gone Mad
A one-legged man was falsely accused of fiddling disability benefit after officials examined his wrong leg. Robert Punter has undergone a nightmare year of anxiety after being taken to court by benefits officials who told him he was not disabled enough to claim the allowance even though he was having his leg amputated. The mix up occurred because the 63-year-old ex trucker, whose left leg was shattered in a boyhood shotgun accident, also suffered a serious toe injury in his right foot.

He was prosecuted when officials found a letter in his medical file showing he had made a full recovery from this operation and accused him of lying about his condition. He is angry that he has been treated as a dole fiddler despite battling to overcome his disability and working for 47 years, often in excruciating pain. Robert, of Newton Abbot, Devon, spent months waiting for his case to be heard at Exeter Crown Court before it was thrown out in less than five minutes.
He denied falsely claiming disability living allowance and Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, recorded not guilty verdicts after Miss Emily Pitts offered no evidence on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions. He was wheeled into court by his wife Jean with a white bandage covering the stump of his left leg, which was amputated in January. The judge allowed him to remain in the well of the court because he could not get into the dock.

The case was dropped after defense solicitor Miss Ann Bellchambers obtained a statement from Torbay Hospital consultant Mr Patrick Loxdale confirming that Robert had always suffered from a disability which entitled him to benefit. The consultant orthopedic surgeon at Torbay Hospital who wrote to Exeter Crown Court about Robert Punter said the prosecution was 'barking mad'. A Department of Work and Pensions spokeswoman said:"We cannot comment on individual cases."

In The News

In The News

Great moments in pedantry: Double Stuff Oreos not actually double stuffed 

In fact, the Double Stuf Oreos tested by a high school math class in Queensbury, N.Y. contained only 1.86x the amount of stuff that was in a regular Oreo. A Nabisco spokeswoman, responding to the scandal, says the measurements must have been inaccurate.

Domestication changes animal behavior 

A domesticated ferret has more in common with a domesticated dog, behavior wise, than with its own wild cousins. At The Thoughtful Animal, Jason Goldman writes about research that shows how domestication changes animals' social cognitive skill set, leading to creatures that are more likely to respond to very human social cues like eye contact and pointing. 

Art at the intersection of archaeology and space geekery 

Ancient Egyptians made some really nice jewelry out of meteorites.

China says it will stop harvesting organs from prisoners 

More than half of China's donated organs come from executed prisoners. The Chinese government now says it will begin phasing out that practice, starting in November. All new organ donors must volunteer. Of course, there's good reason to be skeptical of this announcement. As Smithsonian points out, the practice has already been illegal since 2006 with not much done to change it. Meanwhile, a harrowing 2011 investigative report by Ethan Gutmann in the Weekly Standard revealed a system that leaves plenty of room for "volunteer" loopholes.

See a star explode with your bare eyes 

Now, to temper this awesome news with a bit of harsh reality: Nova Delphini is not a supernova and it's not going to be as bright an object as you're probably imagining. Discover's Corey Powell has instructions for how to spot it (it probably won't be super obvious, especially if you're in a city) and galleries of photos, just in case you can't see it yourself.

Fifteen Famous Companies That Originally Sold Something Else

Odds and Sods

In the world of business, you have to be ready to switch gears, or even make a complete turnabout, for a better opportunity. If what you're selling isn't optimal, sell something else. If the bonus you're giving away is more popular than your main product, maybe you should rethink your main product. That was the case with William Wrigley, who started out in 1891 trying to sell some exciting products: soap and baking powder.
Like Avon, the chewing gum company got its start with a popular freebie. William Wrigley, Jr. founded the company in 1891 with the goal of selling soap and baking powder. He offered chewing gum as an enticement to his customers, and eventually the customers didn't care about the baking powder; they only wanted the gum.
Yes, what eventually became Avon started out as a guy selling books door to door. Read that and other stories about companies that changed their product and became renowned for their better idea. More

Random Photos

Pictures Say A Thousand Words
But. we're not going to say any of them

No Time For Coffee?

Odds and Sods

Spray Caffeine On Your Skin

Sometimes people don't have time for a leisurely cup of joe and just want a quick fix. Ben Yu and Deven Soni have introduced a form of caffeine that you spray directly on your skin.

The marketing materials claim that caffeine diffuses through your system more gradually through the skin than through drinking. Plus, at $15 for 40 doses, it's way cheaper than Red Bull.

Woman dislocated jaw trying to eat triple-decker burger

Odds and Sods
A woman dislocated her jaw in a bid to eat a giant burger at a Liverpool restaurant. Nicola Peate, 25, was taken to A&E at the Royal Liverpool hospital after being injured when attempting to tackle the triple-decker burger on a work night out. She said that while she was initially able to laugh off the pain, it became "unbearable" the following day.
Nicola, from Ormskirk, added: "I didn’t think I’d dislocated it – you don’t expect it to happen eating a burger. But I tried to eat it with a knife and fork and couldn’t. I couldn’t open my mouth fully. It felt like I had cramp in my tongue, then I started to get an ear ache and a headache. The next morning I woke up and felt really, really ill. The whole side of my head was hurting. Then it started to feel like it was in my jaw and I knew I’d dislocated it.”
An x-ray at the Royal confirmed the dislocation, and a doctor had to manipulate Nicola's jaw back into place with his thumbs. Nicola, who suffers from Ehlers Danlos syndrome, has hyper-flexible joints, which are more prone to dislocation as a result. She said: “The Royal gave me the best dislocation treatment I’ve had. Everyone was really helpful and friendly. If it happens again, I would choose to go back.”

After a second x-ray she was discharged and warned to stifle yawns and avoid opening her jaw too far over the next fortnight. Clinical director of the Royal’s Emergency Department Kathryn Clark said: "Thankfully, incidents such as this are rare but our staff are very experienced in diagnosing and correcting dislocations." She added: "If food is too large, we would recommend cutting it into more manageable chunks, particularly if you have Elhers-danlos syndrome."

At 19 Feet, 6 Inches Long, These Are the Longest Dreadlocks in the World

Odds and Sods
Asha Zulu Mandela of Atlanta, Georgia holds the Guinness World Record for the longest dreadlocks in the world. The official measurement is 19 feet and 6 inches, but she claims to have one strand of hair that is 55 feet long. Zoe Mintz writes in The International Business Times:
"My hair has become part of me. It is my life. I will never cut it," Mandela told The Mirror, adding that she maintained her locks even while undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer. The tattooed, bejeweled mother of one has also overcome two strokes and two heart attacks.
But her roughly 39 pounds of hair have also affected her spine. "The doctors seem to think I have a curvature of my spine and that it's the length and the weight of my hair that's making me curve,” she said. "Some have said my neck has collapsed at the back and that I need to be careful because I could start having spasms in my spine and probably be paralyzed."
Still, Mandela wants to keep growing her hair. "Cutting it would be equivalent to suicide. It would be like being a zombie."

Historical Photos

Pictures Say A Thousand Words

American Indian, Makhpiya Luta, Red Cloud.
Makhpiya Luta - Red Cloud

A 20,000-year-old stone pendant found in Eastern Romania

Scientific Minds Want To Know
A 20,000-year-old stone pendant, with unique decorative elements, has been discovered in Piatra Neamt (north-west of Bucharest) by a team of researchers from Targoviste, the director of the Gheorghe Dumitroaia Neamt County Museum Complex told Agerpres.
20,000-year-old stone pendant found in Eastern Romania
The 20,000 year old pendant [Credit: Nine o'clock]
“The discovery was made at the Paleolithic archaeological site from Poiana Ciresului, the pendant being the third object of its kind ever discovered in Romania. There were also discovered, in the same area, bones of reindeer and bison, since the settlement was used as a hunters’ camp,” Dimitroaia said.
Archaeological research in Poiana Ciresului, located in the Batca Doamnei area in Piatra Neamt County, started 20 years ago. 

However, this year’s discoveries are among the most important ones, as they complete data that was already available on the existence of the Gravettian culture in Romania. The research team is headed by University Professor Dr. Marin Carciumaru, who was also present in Piatra Neamt.

Among the discoveries made at the same archeological site in the past few years there was also a very well-preserved necklace made of snails, which is an extremely rare object.

The team of researchers believes that the archaeological site in Poiana Ciresului is the most important in South-East Europe for the upper Paleolithic, given that here they discovered more items from the upper Paleolithic period than in the entire Romania, for which reason the team wants to expand research

Mayan sculpture remains found in El Salvador’s Cihuatan Archaeological Park

Scientific Minds Want To Know
At least 160 fragments of sculptures, possibly of jaguars, were discovered by specialists in the archaeological park of Cihuatan, located in central El Salvador, the Culture Secretariat said.
Mayan sculpture remains found in El Salvador’s Cihuatan Archaeological Park
One of at least 160 fragments of sculptures that might be of jaguares discovered
at the archaeological park of Cihuatán [Credit: EFE]
The remains come from “five or six feline sculptures,” found along with pieces of two censers, the secretariat said in a statement.

Archaeologists of the secretariat and of El Salvador’s private National Archaeology Foundation, or FUNDAR, made the discoveries during excavations carried out between February and May but not announced until now, officials said.

The fragments were found in a structure built against the perimetric wall of the Cihuatan ceremonial center, a site of Mayan origin located some 36 kilometers (22 miles) from Aguilares, a town north of San Salvador.

The sculptures could have been of jaguars, though the fragments do not show the spots characteristic of their skin, FUNDAR archaeologist Paul Amaroli said.

The remains are in the process of cleaning, identification, analysis and restoration for their subsequent exhibition in the National Anthropology Museum in San Salvador, the secretariat said.

The park at Cihuatan has an expanse of some 73 hectares (180 acres).

“It is estimated that Cihuatan was occupied between 1000 and 1200 A.D., and that its first inhabitants came from central Mexico, where they had abandoned their villages after the Mayan collapse,” the secretariat said.

Ancient Artificial Harbor Found

Scientific Minds Want To Know
Massive fortifications on the coast of Israel may have protected an Assyrian harbor from the Iron Age about 2,700 years ago.

Three Waterfalls Of Southern Iceland

Planet Earth
Iceland is unusually suited for waterfalls. This small island country has a north Atlantic climate that produces frequent rain and snow and a near-Arctic location that produces large glaciers, whose summer melts feed many rivers.

As a result, it is home to a number of large and powerful waterfalls. A view at three of Iceland's most beautiful waterfalls, Svartifoss, Skógarfoss and Seljalandsfoss.

Earth News

Planet Earth
Magma may hang out near the surface of the Earth for hundreds of thousands of years; detecting a pocket of magma doesn't necessarily mean an eruption is imminent.
Physicists have found mathematical analogs to black holes here on Earth, specifically in the southern Atlantic Ocean.
A recently discovered plume of iron is billowing from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.

Astronomical News

Scientific Minds Want To Know
Astronomers have used Kepler data to analyze target star "song" that relates to the star's mass, spin and surface features.
Analysis of starlight collected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope shows patterns in the flicker that are tied to a star's evolutionary state and, possibly, habitable exoplanet potential.
As anyone with kids knows, baby humans have a tendency to throw stuff around -- and baby stars are no different.
In a sign of the times, aspiring astronauts were asked to write a Twitter post, a limerick or a haiku as part of their NASA applications.
Take a look back at some of Voyager 2's most beautiful images on its 36th launch anniversary.
Monday morning, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy took a look out of the International Space Station's window to see something awry -- a mysterious object was floating by!

Jungle Culture

Daily Comic Relief
The 'It's a generational thing' Edition

Four men died trying to rescue goat from well

Odds and Sods
Trying to save a goat cost four people their lives in the Bhagalpur district of Bihar in India on Sunday. The four died while trying saving a goat from drowning in an open well. The bodies of the four men and the goat were recovered by police several hours later.

According to police sources, a goat belonging Yogendra Chowdhary (55) climbed on the railing of the open well and somehow fell inside. Yogendra, an employee of Sabour Agricultural University, rushed to save his goat but felt dizzy after going into the well and raised the alarm.
His son Deepak tried to help but he lost consciousness after getting into the well. Soon several people gathered at the well and Yogendra's second son Sanjay and a daily wage earner Sushil Paswan tried to help but it was in vain. They all drowned.

Police officers and  fire-fighters rushed to the spot and it took them several hours to recover the bodies. The police are investigating whether any poisonous gas had settled inside the well due to illegal manufacture of country liquor. The bodies have been sent for post mortem.

Dragon corpse washes ashore in Spain

Odds and Sods
 Experts in Spain are analyzing photos of a mystery creature that washed ashore on the beaches of Andalusia. From a machine translation of a story at ideal.es:
In appeared yesterday afternoon on the beach in the hamlet Luis Siret cuevana Villaricos, a strange 'body' of more than four meters in length. It was what might seem like a big fish, but in an advanced state of decomposition ... commenters spoke of a 'Loch Ness Monster', 'mutant fish ', and made a lot of humorous comments.
The truth comes from Cuevas Civil Protection in Promar: "In summer we monitor the beaches. A lady found part of it, then we got the rest. We have no idea of ​​what can be, but it smelled bad. Promar experts are trying to see what could be ", said Civil Protection Coordinator Maria Sanchez.

Woman opens bakery for dogs

Odds and Sods
25-year-old Slovenian journalism graduate Nastja Verdnik, who was struggling to find a job, decided to turn her love for dogs into a business and has opened the country's first bakery for dogs.
Her shop, "Hov-Hov", which is Slovenian for Woof-Woof opened in Maribor earlier this year. It sells hand-made biscuits, muffins, cakes and tarts specifically prepared for dogs.

The cakes and biscuits Verdnik makes come in various shapes and flavours, with different types of meat including venison, horse meat and lamb. She also makes tuna and vegetarian options.

"The response was really surprisingly good, which led us to plan expansion to other places in Slovenia. By the end of this year we expect to open a shop in Ljubljana city centre," she said.

Dog's blood saved cat's life

Animal News
A dog might be man's best friend, but a Labrador in Tauranga, New Zealand has made a bigger sacrifice for the arch enemy. Macy the dog saved the life of Rory the cat by donating blood. He's perfect now, but three weeks ago Rory urgently needed blood after eating rat poison."He was dying. We didn't have time for the cat blood to arrive or be matched," says Rory's owner, Kim Edwards.

Animal News

Animal News
The hellbender, an enormous reptile that resembles a Loch Ness monster, has just been re-introduced to New York State.
The Big Apple turns out to be the champ of roach diversity.
You might think you know the answer....but you probably don't.

Animal Pictures

Animal Pictures
Owl be with you in a moment